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The First


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Here goes :T


I ran through the empty hallways, once bustling with the members of my unit, my friends, my brothers and sisters. Now, they were all dead, dying against overwhelming numbers of the enemy at our doorstep. I was the one sent back to tell their tale...and evacuate the Doctor.


He had arrived at our base at the most inconceivable time. For once, our faulty intelligence had picked up signals heading towards our base, stationed at the front lines in Sedna. And yet still the doctor had insisted on arriving with the last of the ships dropping off futile reinforcements, arriving with a large box and...him.


The rumors were that the deformed man who had accompanied the Doctor was one of the lucky, or unlucky, few that had returned from the Void. Cloaked in a white medical robe, one could barely make out his face. Patches of his skin were covered in stitches and fresh cuts, while other parts seemed to glow with an eerie reminiscence of the Void. If one turned away, it was either because his face was too hideous or the light flashed at odd intervals, blinding the beholder.

In any other part of the empire I would have pitied him. Here at the front lines, I had spat at him, yelling at him to go home. He was taking up space that could have been filled by another soldier, a rack of rifles, anything but this reject would have given us but a minute longer against the enemy.


But it mattered little now. My unit was dying outside, and the last orders my captain gave me were to evacuate the Doctor and survive.


I found him bent over console hooked up to various incomprehensible instruments, state of the art technology from the heart of the empire. The gold lines reflected the brilliant blue pulsing from the wires.


"Doctor, I have orders to get you out of here. The base is lost," I said, giving a half-hearted salute.


He continued working at the console, seemingly ignoring me.


I stepped inside the lab room, raising my voice. "Sir, we have to get the hell out of here, the enemy--"


"Patience, soldier. It is almost ready," the Doctor rasped.


I grasped his arm. "Whatever it is sir, we'll be dead by the time it's finished. We must abandon the base. We need to get you and your patient..." I looked around the room. "Where is he?"


"Who?" the Doctor turned.


"The man who was with you, the Void Walker."


The Doctor merely nodded his head towards the center of the room. There was a capsule, or a coffin, windows fogged in, surrounded by four Death Orbs. The pulsed in unison, energy flowing towards the capsule.


"He is preparing to save us all," the Doctor said. "What of the other soldiers?"


My voice went tight. "They're all..." I couldn't finish the sentence. He turned to me once again, and for the first time, his eyes were sad.


"I'm sorry," he said. "He cannot be their savior, but he will be their avenger."


He flipped all the switches in the center console. The Death Orbs began to hum, and the capsule was suddenly shrouded in energy. When the light faded, the fog cleared from the windows.


Lying inside the capsule was a form-fitting suit of white armor. I had never seen anything quite like it. It was metal and organic at the same time, gold lines decorating the helmet in intricate designs. It had no slits for eyes, no hole for the mouth, and as it moved with the rising and falling of the occupant's chest I realized he was still alive and inside the suit.

The doctor pressed a button, and the capsule raised itself upright. The Doctor approached it, staring up into the suit. "You are our last hope," he said quietly. "Whether you live or die today will decide the fate of the Empire. Succeed, and you will return a hero. Fall, and we will all be lost."


With a hiss, the capsule opened. I watched it step out of the capsule, silent and tall. The doctor reached over to a table where three cases lay. He pried open the first and pulled out a gleaming rifle, shorter than my percussion rifle, but from a glance, I knew it was far superior. Like the warrior, it was white and black, decorated with the gold lines befitting the Orokin. The warrior slung the weapon on his back as the doctor opened the second case. It contained a pistol, simple and yet as elegant as the rifle. The warrior took it and put the weapon at its side.


"Where our technology has failed us, you shall triumph," the Doctor whispered, taking the third case and, with a few clicks, disabled the locks. "The weapons of the old ways: Gun..." he pulled out from the case a brilliant sword of gold and steel, "...and blade."


It took the sword and placed it on its back. "You are ready," the Doctor said, "Dispel this evil and save the empire."

It started towards the door. After a moment's hesitation, I followed it.


It showed no similarities to the leper that had disembarked that final drop ship. It stood straight, noble, and showed confidence in every movement it took. We walked the empty hallways until we arrived at the main gate of the base.


By now, I knew my friends had fallen. I could not hear the familiar crack of their rifles, their panicked and desperate shouts. Out there would be nothing but enemies. I gripped my rifle tighter.


"Hey," I said, unsure of if the Void Walker was indeed in that suit. "Even if we don't get out of this, I was wrong to doubt you."


He merely nodded. I walked over to the controls to the gate. "We're going in, Doctor," I said, my voice high with fear.


His voice came clear and calm over the radio. "Do it. And make sure you cover your eyes when the door opens."


"Sorry?" I said.


"Just do it."


I pressed the button, and as the doors whooshed open, I saw him raise the sword.


My arms had barely covered my eyes when there was a blinding flash of light. Even with my eyes shielded I could swear I could see the bones in my arm, lit up by the flash. It was like the splotch of bright light on his face, magnified a thousand-fold.


In a brief instant, the flash was gone, and I lowered my arm and brought my rifle to bear, but my vision had still been affected. I felt something rush past me out the door.


A gun went off. I wasn't the sound of the enemy's guns, certainly not the sound of my rifle lying slack in my arms. Somewhere in my mind it occurred to me that it was that of the warrior's.


As my vision cleared, I began to see a white shape darting through the wreckage of our outer defenses, gun blazing. I began to make out too, the terrifyingly familiar shapes of the Sentients. But they were not returning fire, not at me nor the warrior. They were stumbling, helpless, covering their smoking eyes. And they were falling, one by one, to the warrior. As easily as our troops had fallen to them, they were falling to him, a lone warrior with a golden rifle and silver sword. He moved impossibly fast, his strikes precise, his shots never missing. I could only stand at the doorway and watch as the Doctor's reckoning was set upon the Sentients.


There was a sudden roar as a Worm ship punched into the space above the battlefield. It hung low, almost scraping the walls of the base, heat cannon aimed at the warrior. Before I could cry out, the worm ship fired, heat bursting the warrior and the surrounding enemies at point blank range.


Debris flew everywhere. One piece flew higher than the rest. It was the warrior, unscathed. Energy trailed his body as he rose higher and higher until he was above the worm ship. He drew his sword, flashing in the light of the blaze.


"What is he, Doctor?" I whispered into my radio.


Energy wrapped around him as he shot forward with incredible speed, colliding into the worm ship. He cleaved straight through the behemoth, bursting from the other end like a bullet shot straight from the hellspace of the Void. As the ship exploded, the broiling flame contrasting with the dark blue blade streaking through the sky, a feeling swept through me. I knew not what it was, only that it was a feeling I had not felt in a long time. It gripped me with a sudden purpose, and I suddenly remembered that I too, had a weapon. I brought it to bear, and with a yell, charged the remaining enemies.

The warrior landed on the ground beside me, in a fluid motion sheathing his sword and drawing his own rifle, and together we poured shot after shot into enemies that suddenly no longer seemed the untouchable army that had pushed us back too many times before.


But just as soon as I had felt untouchable, a mounted heat cannon burst a round in between me and the warrior. I felt myself thrown to my side, Zero-tech suit smoking, rifle leaving my numb fingers. I tried to get to my feet, but a heavy foot landed on my back. Rough hands grabbed my arms and pulled them backwards, and I gave out a sharp cry of pain.


I looked up to see they had the warrior surrounded, every weapon aimed at him. One sentient made his way towards the front and snarled at him, the language foreign but the meaning clear. He jabbed a finger towards me, and I felt them bend my arm backwards even more. Something snapped, and I could not help screaming.


The warrior dropped his rifle to the ground. He gripped by the pistol by the barrel and tossed it towards the Sentient leader, who caught it and grinned.


Finally, he drew his sword. There was a ripple among them as they gripped their weapons tighter, even though they were all out of range. He raised his sword in front of them, head turning to see all of the enemies. Then, he flipped the blade to face the ground, and brought it down with sudden force.


There was a flash, and a ring of blades exploded outwards, each heading straight for one of the enemy.  The leader was hit square in the chest, sent flying by the force of the blade, the pistol spinning from his hand into the air. The warrior leapt for it, catching it in his hands and turning it towards me, firing once.


The grip on my arm went slack, and I felt the weight on my back slide off. Shakily, I got to my feet, untangling myself from the now dead Sentient who had been my captor. Despite one of my arms being broken, I found my rifle and took it with my good hand. I staggered towards the warrior, who picked up the his rifle and slung it on his back. He walked over to the sword, still impaled in the ground, and drew it. With expert care, he placed the deadly blade on his back.

I made my way towards the dead commander, pinned to the wall. The projectile was an ancient blade, and with much effort I pried the javelin from the wall, inspecting it. Stained with Sentient blood, there could not have been anything on this torn battlefield more symbolic of our victory.


"Splendid." I turned to see the Doctor making his way through the wreckage. "You have done well." The warrior nodded.


"Doctor," I said again, "What is he?"


The Doctor beckoned we follow, and we headed back inside the base. "When the Void Walkers returned, they were beset by a terrible curse. However, we have found a way to utilize their curse, and turn it into a weapon." We stepped inside the lab. He passed by the empty capsule and moved towards the end of the room. There was a vault, locked by keyhole molded in an imperial shape. He pulled a matching key from his pocket and placed it into the door.


"Warframes. A conduit for their affliction, something beyond science, beyond comprehension. They will be our counterattack."


I caught the plurality. "So there are more of..what is he, exactly?"


The door glowed gold and slid open. Beyond lay an array of capsules, all containing those gilded white suits. "He is Excalibur," the doctor said, "And he is only the first."


As the glimmering capsules shone in the darkness of the vault, the same strong feeling swept through me again, and this time, I recognized it as the catalytic sparks of hope.

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